The Anna restaurant in Jerusalem is a kosher Italian restaurant situated inside of the Ticho House Museum off of Harav Hagan St. It is an outstanding restaurant, owned and managed by Nava Bibi. Her daughters, Anat and Orit, work with groups, staff and service.
In the kitchen, you will find the brains behind the menu, Chef Guy Harpaz. The restaurant also employs at-risk youth in the kitchen.
Ticho Salad Photo by Barry A Kaplan, Jerusalem
On the evening we visited, Nava Bibi, owner/manager, a charming, gracious, professional woman, was our hostess.
While munching on the warm, small, dark, seeded sour dough bread made by Teller Bread Company, Nava chose for us the eggplant roll with labaneh on a fresh tomato and herb sauce. It arrived garnished with lentil leaves which look like alfalfa sprouts. The herb sauce fit the eggplant roll whose labaneh inside was refreshingly cold.
Sweet potato soup followed: hot, creamy (almost as if it were whipped) with no spices, a perfect blend of pure sweet potato which my companion quite liked.
Stuffed artichoke bottom Photo by Barry A Kaplan, Jerusalem
I had tasted the special onion soup in a bread bowl on an earlier occasion and would recommend it as very flavorful and a meal in itself.
The Ticho salad was enormous with mixed green lettuces, fresh herbs, Roquefort cheese and fruit including pomegranate seeds, pineapple, nectarines, mango, green apples, red and green grapes with an optional creamy, tangy dressing. A meal in itself, it was garnished with sugared pecans. My companion especially enjoyed the Roquefort cheese slices.
As specialty of the house, we tried the artichoke bottom stuffed with tomato sauce on fresh herbs and lettuce. The artichoke, which had a pleasant lemony taste, was served warm and garnished with pomegranate seeds and lemon slices. Using the bottom in this way is original and unique besides being tasty.
The pasta choice was pumpkin ravioli. I love nuts but the pecans on top seemed out of place. Brushed aside, the fresh basil was very subtle as was the actual pumpkin taste in the pasta.
The next course was the Drum fish fillet served with roasted potato, stir-fried vegetables and a salad. Personally, I found the the strong fish taste not to my liking, although my companion, who is not a fish fancier, quite liked it. The roast potato was cooked perfectly and retained its color and was just slightly brown. The stir-fried red pepper, squash, string beans and carrots with sweet potato were crunchy and cooked just right.
The dessert menu offers 11 cakes, pies, strudel and other delicacies but being more than full with all of the small tastings, we chose the sugarless crumb cheese cake and the lemon pie. Anna Ticho gets special stars for being considerate enough to offer a sugar-free dessert for those who cannot have sugar. The cheese cake is made on a chocolate crumb base and is artistically presented on a plate of the chocolate crumbs. My companion found it rich and delectable, almost tasting like ice cream.
Sugarless crumb cheese cake and lemon tart Photo by Barry A Kaplan, Jerusalem
I chose one of my favorites, lemon pie, and was pleasantly surprised to get an individual tart, artistically garnished with pistachio nuts, lemon slices and a sprig of mint accompanied by a large dollop of whipped cream. It rated high marks for being just right – not too sweet and not too lemony.
Every table has a paper covering of Anna Ticho’s charcoal drawing of trees. The garden is comfortable and relaxing, not noisy. Every table has an umbrella for daytime eating and there are heaters nearby for winter eating. On the evening we ate there, citronella candles kept away any bugs.
The service was exemplary and the waiting staff knowledgeable.
Anna rates as a perfect place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also offer a private room which can hold up to 250 guests with customized menus.
*The restaurant has since underwent a change in its menu and location. What is described in this article may be different than the restaurant today.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, food writer and cookbook author who lives in Jerusalem and leads walks in Machaneh Yehudah, the Jewish produce market. The author and photographer were the guests of the restaurant.
The author and the photographer were guests of the restaurant.